*HURIWA Mulls Anti Hate Speech Legislation

Source: pointblanknews.com

Worried about what it calls grave threats to national security by hate speeches circulating in the media as campaign materials associated with political office seekers, a democracy inclined Non-Governmental body-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said it has begun broad-based national consultations with like -minded groups to present a proposed anti hate crime legislation before the national assembly.

Besides, the Rights group has also praised President Good luck Jonathan's decision to reduce by 10 kobo the pump price of petrol in Nigeria but urged the relevant agencies in the Petroleum ministry to embark on massive clamp down of fuel dealers who have so far failed to comply with the government directive. HURIWA further challenged the Federal Government to prosecute actively all the indicted petrol subsidy thieves who diverted over N1 trillion from the public treasury so as to retrieve to the last kobo all the stolen public money in the hands of this cabal. The group said the reduction in the pump price of petrol may not make much impact unless corruption in the petroleum sub-sector is fought and crushed and domestic refining of petroleum products resumes fully in Nigeria.

Besides, HURIWA wants Nigeria to review her membership of the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries [OPEC] following the failure of the cartel to save the unprecedented fall in the asking price of crude oil in the global market which has significantly led to the depreciating national revenue.

In a statement jointly authorized by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said the atmosphere of fear pervading in all parts of Nigeria was created by the incessant use of inflammatory hate speeches by political gladiators all across the country who have clearly created the impression that the coming elections next month is an all out war over political supremacy among the Northerner and Southern political regions. HURIWA is of the opinion that the survival of Nigeria as a united entity is much more important that the political interests of political office seekers and therefore must be protected and guaranteed through legislative frameworks.

According to HURIWA, the failure of the relevant security agencies to remain neutral and impartial in the discharge of their constitutional duties especially as the general elections draw near has further created a national atmosphere of distrust especially by opposition politicians. HURIWA charged media houses to also reject campaign materials that promote hate speeches.

The Rights group warned that should urgent national action not enforced to compel political office seekers to play by the rule and stop the use of hate speeches in the ongoing campaign, then Nigeria may witness unprecedented civil unrests similar to the genocide that took place in Rwanda some few years back.

HURIWA stated thus; “we completely condemn the use of deeply divisive and speeches that completely preaches hatred of one another on the basis of ethnicity, religion and political affiliations. We have started national conversations with many patriotic human rights platforms with a view to proposing a legislation to outlaw the use of hate speeches by political office seekers, religious and ethnic champions”.

“We know that section 39(1) of the Nigerian constitution clearly provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference”.

“But we know that the constitutional provision on free speech is not an absolute license for hate speeches because the use of hate speeches amounts to hate crimes which are capable of destroying the country”.

HURIWA also asked the hierarchy of the Nigerian police Force, the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigerian military to first and foremost be loyal to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not to any particular political party since all registered political parties are equal before the Nigerian Law and the sanctity of the sovereignty of Nigeria is Supreme.

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